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Reviewed: Falcon Northwest Mach V with Triple Titan X Cards rips the lid off our gaming tests

Gordon Mah Ung | April 7, 2015
Americans love stats. Who has the greatest batting average of all time? (Ty Cobb.) Who was in the most James Bond movies and how many times? (Roger Moore, with six.) Can a gaming PC really cost $9,683? (Bleep yes!).

This probably isn't a bad idea. While the GeForce GTX 980 was known for its gentle temperatures, the GeForce GTX Titan X isn't. I measured temperatures on the cards on some spots at 179 degrees. Yes, that's as hot as McDonald's coffee was beforethe lawsuit. Much of that heat is trapped between the cards. Others have recorded temps hitting 213 degrees!

If these temps make you wonder about stability, Falcon says it stress-tests the machines it sells in a room heated up to 80 to 90 degrees overnight to vet bad components.

On the performance tip, the Mach V certainly lights up our charts. Let's just say the three Titan X cards don't disappoint. The next-fastest system is AVA Direct's i7 X99 box we reviewed in December. Using the synthetic but still-respected 3DMark FireStrike Extreme, we see the Mach V outperforming the pair of GeForce GTX 980s in the AVA Direct by almost double. Our reference system, with its single GeForce GTX 980, is pretty lonely way back there too.

To see how the Mach V does in an actual game, we spooled up Tomb Raider set to Ultimate and running at 2560x1600 resolution on a 30-inch panel. Even though we didn't expect such a difference at this "low" resolution, those three Titan X cards put serious distance between the AVA Direct's pair of GTX 980 cards and our single GeForce GTX 980. For kicks, we also included MSI's Titan SLI "laptop" to see how its pair of GeForce GTX 980M cards in SLI would do. It's not bad considering it's a gaming laptop, albeit one big-ass gaming laptop. 

Gaming at 2560x1600 with three Titan X cards is downright criminal, though, and in some states, you can actually be charged with a Class B felony for using too much hardware for your gaming resolution. (Just kidding!) So I also ran the Mach V on a 4K display. You might think with this much firepower you can play with, say, three 4K panels in surround, but I think we're not quite there yet.

In 3DMark FireStrike Ultra, I saw the Mach V give up 11,238. At the time of our original run, before Titan X cards were out, that was good enough to put it in the top 40. With Titan X cards in the hands of more folks, the Mach V has slipped all the way back to the low 40s — among all the PCs on the planet. For shame.

In actual gaming, Tomb Raider at 4K and set to Ultimate still puts out 135.4 fps. I also ran Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor with the 4K texture pack installed and saw 81.6 fps. I didn't have access to the AVA Direct machine to run this benchmark, but I know from our review of the Titan X, a single card in this benchmark at 4K pushes 35.6 fps, and a pair of 980s plows along at 43.9 fps. That's a testament to just how demanding Shadow of Mordor is of GPUs.


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